Jim Smithson has been fortunate enough to work with Arnold Worldwide and Amtrak on some wonderful projects. As you can see from his post, shooting for Amtrak is so much more than taking beautiful photographs. Here is what Jim had to say about it.
“Nature can prove to be a formidable foe, especially when you’re taking a picture. But how about before you take a picture?” Check out what had to happen before we even took out our cameras…..
This was the second of three campaigns we shot for Amtrak and Arnold Worldwide. We had to capture 5 unique snow covered landscape images throughout Amtrak’s North East Regional line, and forces of nature took us to task in a variety of ways. Due to strict federal safety rules and the inherent danger of working around 150 mph projectiles, our entire crew had to fulfill safety training before we could set foot on the rails.
Because we had no idea when the snow would fly, this meant having to train 2 teams of crew in the event a crew member got booked on another gig. Once trained, everyone was on standby ready to fly at a moments notice, and I became a Weather Channel
Our first glimmer of hope came in late December 2009. A cold arctic flow was traveling down from Canada colliding with moisture moving north from the Gulf of Mexico.
The God’s were smiling, or so I thought. After a generous dumping across the North Eastern Seaboard, I was pumped and ready to pull the trigger.
My elation quickly turned to despair when I was informed that Amtrak didn’t think it was a good idea to mobilize us during the holidays.
COUNT TO 10 JIM.
The month of January would prove to be one of the biggest months of accumulated snowfall on record back east. But the God’s were taunting me. All the storms tracked either north or south of our 100 mile stretch of approved locations. Oh no!
We were then approaching mid-February and still no love from the Gods. What did I have to do? Go to the crossroads and make a deal with the devil?
Then, a glimmer of hope. A storm system originating from the midwest was tracking east heading in the vicinity of Connecticut. 2 days seemed like 2 years as the southern part of the storm finally gave us a generous dusting.
The call went out. My LA crew was on a plane the following day and for the next 8 days we braved some very cold temps and trying conditions. We ended up having just enough snow and just barely enough time to pull it off.
Kudos to my super crew Tomás Arceo, Jeff Vogeding and Sady Callaghan
for braving the elements and taking more than one for the team. A big shout also to creative director Bill Cutter
for his vision and continued support and art buyer Andrea Ricker
for her flawless attention to every last detail.